1. Stop constantly checking email
Most people from the moment they walk into work obsessively check their inboxes for any new emails. It’s good to want to be on the ball and respond to colleagues or clients in a timely manner. However, you should not schedule your tasks based around email. Complete your most pressing tasks first then respond to easy emails. Check back with your emails every 60-90 minutes.
2. Break your workload into small pieces
Who hasn’t looked down at a to-do list and felt hopeless to get it done? You aren’t alone. For most people looking at a robust to-do list seems overwhelming seeing everything written out. The more overwhelming it seems the less likely it is that you will even begin doing it. Make these tasks or projects less scary by breaking down the steps into simple tasks. The simpler the task the more likely you’ll act on it to take it off your plate.
3. Give yourself a deadline
Deadlines force you to discipline yourself and keep yourself motivated. If you need to, make yourself accountable by telling your fellow coworkers your time table. For example if you work for a large insurance agency and promise to do a market analysis for your Senior-focused agents tell them “I’ll finish this Medicare Supplement analysis for North Carolina by Tuesday at 3pm.” Making people aware of your deadline goals helps you keep tabs on your production.
4. Take a break
Work often demands that we be on our A-game and be a top performer. However, complex work can be a big brain drain and leave you exhausted. The best way to combat mental fatigue is by taking breaks. Surf the web for 10 minutes, take a walk or leave at lunchtime. Separating yourself for just a few minutes helps your mind recharge itself so you can be productive throughout the rest of the day.
5. Stop multi-tasking
We’ve all been trained to think multi-tasking is the best way to complete tasks in a timely manner. Although, psychologists have found that constantly multi-tasking results in more time lost, and divided focus. It ends up causing us to constantly take away focus from top priorities to handle lesser ones. Instead, you need to focus on one task at a time to get it done the right way.
6. Eliminate distractions
Office life can be busy, loud and also fun. With the business world come distractions like noisy office equipment, co-workers, computers, constant emails, and phone calls. Close the 100 website tabs you have open and only leave what you need to complete your top priority. If you need to put on headphones or light music to get in the zone or whatever makes you feel at ease then do it.
7. Start your day eating the frog
“Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Get in early and do your least favorite task or the task you are most likely to put off first. Why? Getting the worst task done first makes the rest of your day’s priorities seem less daunting. For example, if you dread doing phone follow-ups about appointments with your potential Medicare clients and procrastinate doing it at all then do it first. You will feel relieved to conquer your hard task and make the rest of your day seem so much easier.
8. Don’t be afraid to say “no”
Are you constantly asked to attend meetings or help out others finish their tasks? It may be time for you to start saying “no.” Work is hard enough trying to meet your own personal goals for the day without being interrupted or pulled into projects that you don’t own. If you feel awkward saying “no” then simply explain what projects or tasks you are currently working on that would make attending a meeting difficult.
Many of us are guilty of letting our inboxes, desks, and offices get into a state of disarray. Organizing doesn’t have to mean hours and hours of laborious work. Take 5 minutes every day to just go through email and organize into your messages into categorized folders. As an insurance agent or agency owner, designate folders to keep records of client correspondence, inter-office communication, and financial records. These emails serve as a record of business and should be easily found at all times.
10. Prep for tomorrow
Before you leave work to head home, brainstorm what you may need for tomorrow. Do you have appointments with your Medicare clients or will you be in-office doing AHIP training? If you are having clients come into the office for a needs analysis for Final Expense you can plan on arriving early to make sure your office is clean and there is an area set up for guests. Or if you will be giving a presentation make sure the computer and projector will be ready to use. Planning ahead saves you time for tomorrow and will put you in a positive state of mind.